March 2, 2019
Five months and nearly 5,000 miles have passed since we first arrived in Japan. Everything we went through to get here feels like a distant memory. We’ve fallen into the swing of Japanese life and spend our time here soaking up as much history, landmarks and culture as we can every day…
But now it’s time to leave. We have decided to leave our motorbike here and rent and buy bikes through Pakistan, Nepal and India. We’ll return to Japan in August and explore the north island of Hokkaido in summer (instead of its current -8C temperature) and then ride to South Korea and chuck the Yamaha on a container ship destined for Cambodia.
We’ll then meet the bike in Cambodia around November time, circle back round and visit the countries in South East Asia before swinging back round again and heading for Australia and New Zealand.
This way, we’ll also get to explore South Korea in the sun (instead of -10C) and save a miniature fortune (£4000!) on flying our bike to India and riding through the carnet countries.
Phew! That was a mouthful, but hopefully it makes sense! Here’s our rough mini-map for the next stage of our trip.
We are going to miss Japan, even though we’re coming back soon. We have finally become used to the serene Japanese way of life, the beautiful landscapes, stunning architecture and incredible history.
We loved our time here, and so for this blog post we thought we’d just share some of the things that we’ve found interesting in the last few months. Thanks for sticking with us, and we hope you enjoy our next post from Nepal!
Incredibly beautiful vines slither across the water creating stunning bridges that look magical.
For hundreds of years, people have built bridges made from vines to cross the Iya River, which slices its way through Iya Valley. There used to be thirteen bridges but only three remain today.
The double vine bridges are two separate bridges, dubbed Husband (44 metres) and Wife (22 metre) Bridges
Clamber inside, close the door and pull yourself across by pulling on the rope!
The Madness of Tokyo
Tokyo is a city like no other… there’s no way we can fit a description of such an insane city in a little caption!
The Digital Art Museum in Tokyo is definitely worth a visit!
Kinkaku-ji, otherwise known as The Golden Temple or Golden Pavilion, is one of Japan’s most popular buildings.
It takes hours to walk through The thousands of Tori Gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine
The two samurai at Maruyama Park. The statue is in honour of Sakamoto Ryoma and Nakaoka Shintaro, who were assassinated in Kyoto in the 19th century while opposing the shogunate rule. They dreamed of an equal society, free from feudal government.
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove (or Sagano Bamboo Forest) is a major attraction in Kyoto - don’t believe those beautiful Instagram pics you see of an empty pathway, the forest is crammed with tourists!
The monkey park near the Bamboo Forest
A thousand-year-old tradition and a deep-rooted part of Japanese culture
If you’re heading to Japan, take the time to experience a traditional ceremony and learn about the many rules, subtleties and etiquette that go with it
This is probably one of the best places in the world to row a boat! Japan’s Takachiho Gorge is stunning… but that’s not all. Takachiho is shrouded in legend…
Himeji Castle is a Japanese masterpiece and no visit to Japan would be complete without a gaze at its pearly white walls.
It played a huge role during the Shogunate era and is the quintessential castle of its time.
You’ll find beautiful Japanese garden right next door to the castle
The Otagi Nenbutsu-Ji temple in Kyoto is known for housing 1,200 laughing stone buddhas
But they’re actually Rakan, which are Buddha’s disciples
The stone carvings were all donated to the Otagi Temple during its reconstruction period, as it is one of Japan’s most destroyed temples
Over 220,000 people died in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 during World War II.
While the bombings killed most people instantly, many thousands suffered severe physical and psychological damage from radiation in the months after and people are still suffering now.
The ancient Ritsurin Garden is widely regarded as the most famous and most beautiful garden in Japan.
If you can only visit one green paradise, then this is it!
Having our own transport in Japan made a huge difference. It allowed us to travel to every nook and cranny and see another side of the country that you just can’t from a train window. More importantly, it let us connect with locals on a more personal level.
Many people were very kind to us during our time in Japan. Strangers would randomly buy us coffees as we loaded up our bikes, people would offer us food and drinks as we waited for ferries and families would share oranges with us when we woke up in the morning after camping on the beach. The list goes on and on. We met this lady one evening when we tried to wild camp in a quiet field. She insisted we camped in her front garden instead. She pulled us into her home in the morning and fed us and we talked for hours about her family… despite neither of us knowing the other’s language. The Japanese always want to help, share and be kind… and we love them for it.
If you have any questions or comments (or even if you just want to say hey) then please leave a comment below or get in touch, we’d love to hear from you! Drop us an email at [email protected]